Diatomaceous Earth (DE)

By Deb Haines

What Exactly is Diatomaceous Earth?

Diatoms are single-celled algae that inhabit streams, lakes, oceans and other waterways. Fossilized diatoms, whose cell walls are made of silica, are used to make a fine powder called diatomaceous earth (DE).

Food-grade DE is typically used to sprinkle on vegetable and fruit gardens to help prevent insects from infesting crops. It’s more of a home and garden type situation.

How Does Diatomaceous Earth Kill Fleas?

The small particles of DE actually look like shards of glass when examined under the microscope. A flea that ingests diatomaceous earth supposedly will be torn apart, Diatomaceous earth supposedly causes insects to dry out and die by absorbing the oils and fats from the cuticle of the insect’s exoskeleton. Its sharp edges are abrasive, speeding up the process.

Question is ……. if it kills the fleas, what is the cost to your pet using it ? Is it worth the risk when their is no true facts from studies that it is safe and effective.

Is Using Diatomaceous Earth for Fleas Hazardous to Your Health?

Veterinarians generally advise against the use of diatomaceous earth for fleas on cats and dogs. “Do not apply diatomaceous earth directly to your pet. It is not effective for flea control when used in this manner and could potentially result in lung damage if inhaled.

📌NOTE ….Diatomaceous earth can irritate the nose and nasal passages if breathed in. It can also be irritating and drying to the skin and eyes. Diatomaceous earth is thought to work by drying out and abrading the exoskeleton of insects, but its efficacy is questionable.

It is not effective for flea control when used in this manner and could potentially result in lung damage if inhaled. Aside from possible respiratory risks, it be a hazard to the gastrointestinal tract.

Your veterinarian is the best person to talk to about any type of flea prevention. Talk to your veterinarian about the safest and most effective flea preventative

🚩Input about Diatomaceous Earth from the PVC vets

People say DE is safe for my dogs/cats, is this true?

Answer ….. Dr. Ward …I have never and would never recommend it. No evidence of efficacy and quite possibly detrimental.

Answer ….. Dr. Wild…When I was doing mixed practice, I got a fair amount of equine clients that swore DE was ALL they needed for deworming their horses. I challenged every single one. Made them a bet that we would submit a fecal on their horse. If it was negative for parasites, I’d pay for the fecal and promise to not bug them about it again. If the horse remained parasitized despite their DE use, they paid for the fecal as well as appropriate deworming. I never lost.

Answer …. Dr. Houlding …. If DE worked , we wouldn’t have a dozen or more chemicals for parasites…

Answer … Dr. Seawright …I’ve never met a vet who would recommend it’s use. No evidence of efficacy.

Answer … Dr. Gerber …. please don’t give your dog diatomaceous earth. There’s been no proven benefit of it treating fleas, neither topically or especially orally.

Answer … Dr. Patink… What you read is not true. Every single study done testing if it’s effective demonstrated that it absolutely wasn’t.

It’s also dangerous to use around pets because they can breathe in the fine particles and this can cause serious respiratory issues.

Answer … Dr. Jeffrey … If diatimaceous earth was effective and safe we would all be using it in our own dogs as well as our patients. We don’t. It’s not some scheme with “big pharma” to generate income, we aren’t monsters that would sacrifice our patients’ or our own pets’ health for a buck.

Bottom line ….

You need to see your veterinarian for proper flea prevention for at least three months to get rid of the fleas, and vacuum the environment frequently, along with washing all bedding often.


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